5 minutes with… Emily Poulton, Senior Marketing Operations Manager, Adecco Group

This month I’m delighted to be speaking to Emily Poulton, newly appointed Senior Marketing Operations Manager at the Adecco Group. Emily is an outstanding digital marketer who is a 2x Marketo Champion (2017 and 2018) and winner of the 2018 Marketo Marketer of the Year.

Here’s her 5 minutes with…

What is your marketing background?

I came from a generalist background, touching everything from events, CRM, website content, print, graphic design and email marketing. I discovered marketing automation after being naturally curious about how web, email, data and user experience comes together. I specialised in marketing automation – driving campaigns with and implementing Marketo – for a few years, and now calling myself a marketing technologist / marketing operations marketer.

What does your role at The Adecco Group involve?

I’ve just started my new role as Senior Marketing Operations Manager at the Adecco Group where I will be working with the Customer Marketing team to bring campaigns to life. The role is very varied and oversees the marketing operations team across marketing automation, candidate experience, design, supplier management, finance reconciliation, sales alignment and reporting.

Becoming marketer of the year in 2018 and being named a Marketo champion in 2017 and 2018 must have been proud moments in your career?

There is no doubt that 2018 was a great year for me career wise. It put me on the map and has opened many doors. The experience and exposure I gained from being invited to be a panelist for the Fearless50 keynote in front of 6,000 people has brought me more speaker opportunities over the last year. I’m so grateful and I like to think that my achievements can inspire others to apply for awards / programmes and shows that if you are willing to put the work in, opportunities will arise.

Digital marketing has evolved massively in the past few years, what have been the most significant evolutions for you?

I’ve spent the past few years talking about the customer journey and the sales funnel, about promoting TOFU, MOFU and BOFU (Top, Middle and Bottom of the Funnel content) across digital channels and how to adapt your marketing campaigns to fit these audiences based on where people are in their journey. But certainly this past year, it’s all about the unique customer experiences you can create, and having the content ready for consumption when someone wants it. Is the funnel dead?

These experiences are digital at the core but recently I’ve noticed that companies are bringing these experiences offline as well, leveraging more ‘traditional techniques’ and bring these back into the marketing mix. It’s a tough one for a pure digital marketer to get my head around, but a nice challenge. Technology can certainly support this but it will take a lot of work to change the current model. One on my list.

What has been the best digital campaign you have undertaken and why?

One of my favourite campaigns to work on was what I would call a multi-lingual evergreen campaign.

It was the perfect opportunity to work out an ideal journey for new subscribers in a specific role, and roll that out internationally, personalising content and messaging using the technology. Each email would tie into a campaign where the content was repurposed. This evergreen campaign stood the test of time and it was bringing in a steady flow of engaged leads to the business.

I loved working on this campaign because it brought together all the technologies we were using into one ‘always on’ beast, and it was a collaboration effort. The best part was, it was a small team making maximum impact. 

For you what makes up the perfect marketing email?

Know. your. audience! But also, have clean data, and a clear message with a call to action. With this, you can tailor the message, you can personalise the content and you can measure the output.

There are so many new marketing technologies out there, is there a perfect marketing tech stack? Does the perfect marketing stack exist?

Any tech stack is better than none, but if your stack aren’t connected to each-other then you might as well not have one.

Also, it’s about what you do with the stack that you have. There’s no point having all the latest martech but not using it.

Having the basics, such as a CRM, a Marketing Automation system and a webinar provider can give you a great base to start adding more, but it can also bring great results for a team getting started and wanting to get engagement and metrics. I’ve had the chance to work with some great marketing technology, and connected to your system, they can be very powerful.

On my wish list: Marketing automation system + internal collaboration tool + CRM + database management tool + interactive experience tool + reporting platform.

What have been the biggest benefits of marketing automation for you?

Career wise, it has allowed me to get where I am today as I believe it takes a certain way of thinking to master. 

Business wise, I believe it is the best way to scale up marketing activity, and when done right, it allows people to feel like they are having a personalised experience with your company, and not feel like a mass to be marketed to.

We have readers from an array of professional services firms. For the larger firms who are considering investing in a new automation platform, what advice could you offer up?

Having gone through the implementation process within a large corporate, I would advise to start planning as soon as possible, even before the technology comes in. You can have all the right talent in place for adoption of the system but without the structure and processes in place, you will be scaling a bad process, or you won’t be able to scale anything at all. Having all your stakeholders aligned and invested from the start will also help with company wide adoption, which is crucial for success within the first year. If you have some clear goals and objectives for your implementation (split into quick wins and 3 month goals) , this will help focus your team and show returns.

For the smaller consultancies who may have limited budgets and perhaps can’t afford the investment of a large automation platform, but are considering investing in some form of tech for the first time, what advice could you offer up to them as they review the market?

The key thing is to have the right systems in place. Working in a smaller business, these systems can be tighter as only 1 person might be owning the process and the technology. Tools like Google Sheets and Calendars can work wonders when used right and promote the right behaviours for when you might bring in a full blown Marketing Automation tool like Marketo or Hubspot. Free tools like Mailchimp and Trello can also be great when used properly as you can have your marketing database within Mailchimp and the campaigns and reporting shared and published in Trello for all to see. Some CRMs also offer functionality as part of the package so it may be worth investigating what is available to you.

Would there be any pitfalls to avoid?

Just because you are a small company, it doesn’t make you exempt from email spam and marketing consent (like GDPR). It may be easier to control but it still needs to be managed.

Measurement is always key and the evolution of the digital space has opened up so many possibilities in proving ROI. For you what are your key measurements of success?

Every company is different, and at different stages in their marketing maturity. In some cases, direct marketing influenced revenue is the measure, in others it is overall sales. And in some it could be the overall enegagement with social channels. The trick is to follow your company’s lifecycle and align your metrics to the stages. For example, if your marketing team passes leads to a qualification team, the volume may be important for overall health but the quality of the lead would be the metric that aligns to ROI. Marketing Qualified Leads is a common metric for reaching marketing ROI but the important thing is to be consistent and be clear on the definitions of what an MQL is. Your sales cycle also needs to be considered because MQLs coming in one month may not turn into meetings and revenue until a few months later. And new leads may take a year to turn into a qualified lead and then another year to be actively engaged and ready to buy. This needs to be analysed and communicated so that expectations can be met.

From there, measuring the touch-points that take a marketing qualified lead to a closed won deal is a great way to show the impact your marketing team has on your overall revenue.